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The Pregnant Yogini
Page 2: Pregnant Posturing

The activity that has really made a difference for Adrianne druing her pregnancy is Yoga. "It's great because there are all these moves that will prepare you for childbirth, that will strengthen your muscles," she says. "You need to have a strong back and stomach muscles." It also helps with the aches and pains that go along with being pregnant. "You get sciatic pain sometimes," she says. "It's like a shooting pain that starts in your lower back and goes down through your groin and into your leg. At first when that happened, I didn't know what else to do, so I just got on the floor in the middle of the night and started doing these poses and it really helped."

(Article continued below.)

Adrianne's favorite Pre-Natal Yoga classes are with Gurmukh at Golden Bridge. Gurmukh is well-known for her pregnancy Yoga teaching, and Adrianne immediately took to her style of Yoga, which is Kundalini. "Kundalini is just more suited to my personality," she says. "When you go to Golden Bridge and you do Kundalini, you feel like you've come from the gym, but you also feel at peace. It's a mind-opening, body-nurturing, soul-nurturing class."

Mothers-to-be have to modify their Yoga practice radically. "Obviously there are a lot of things you can't do while you're pregnant," Adrianne notes. "Too much pressure on the uterus might be dangerous. You're not supposed to lie on your back with your knees up when you're pregnant because it cuts off the flow of blood to your uterus." But many of the standing poses are still acceptable, and the women team up for some postures, which involve walking lunges and squats to strengthen the thigh muscles. Pillows are often used for modifications too.

There's also a mental aspect to the practice. Adrianne remembers the class where Gurmukh told each woman put her arms together and raise them to about shoulder height - then asked the class to leave their arms there for five long minutes. "She said, 'You're holding your arms up, but apply it to the bigger picture now. I want you to think about breathing through whatever difficulties you're having maintaining this pose - think about what it's like to give birth and the pain you might be having and how you have to find the strength to keep pushing and doing and holding.'" Kundalini Yoga also involves chanting, something that Adrianne welcomes "because it forces you to breathe properly." She also points out that it adds a nice, communal feeling to the end of class.

That's one of the special aspects to Pre-Natal yoga - everyone's there with a common goal: to nurture their pregnant bodies and have a healthy baby. Even though Adrianne's not particularly into female bonding, she admits, "it's really beautiful to go into one of these rooms where there's 40 women with giant bellies, doing really advanced Yoga moves and then feeling the energy in the room. You feel a sort of sisterhood."

While Yoga has been of immense help to Adrianne over the past eight-odd months, it's a toss up as to whether she will feel its benefits when she is ready to give birth. Because of her narrow pelvis, there is a good chance she will have to have a C-section. And she readily admits that even if she can avoid the C-section, she isn't necessarily planning to go completely drug-free. "Gurmukh talks about the beauty of a natural childbirth and how lovely it is and how, even though there's pain, you work through the pain and la-la-la-la-la, and it's all very lovely. But you know what? I don't really care! I can see doing that to a point, but I'm practical. Why should I suffer? The baby won't be any healthier or happier. If I'm in pain, give me help." But for now, Yoga is helping her, and it will help her heal faster after she gives birth. Then she looks forward to trying out the Mommy and Me class with her baby. At Golden Bridge, it comes right after the Pre-Natal Yoga class. "It's packed!" she says. "They're crowding outside the door, waiting for us to leave when we're done with our class."

To be continued....

Previous page >> The Path to a Healthy Pregnancy >> Page 1, 2

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